GHIBULLO – More than 36,000 people have now been forced from their homes by deadly floods in northeast Italy, regional officials said Saturday, as rising waters swallowed more houses and fresh landslides isolated hamlets
Violent downpours earlier this week killed 14 people, transforming streets in the cities and towns of the Emilia Romagna region into rivers.
And as more rain fell, regional authorities extended the red weather alert to Sunday.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Saturday she was leaving the G-7 summit in Japan early to deal with the emergency.
“Frankly I cannot remain so far from Italy in such a complex moment,” she told reporters, thanking the 5,000 people – from rescue workers to volunteers – mobilised to help those hit by the floods.
She also thanked her fellow G-7 leaders for their offers of aid.
Meloni was expected to visit some of the worst-hit areas on Sunday.
The authorities in Ravenna on Saturday ordered the immediate evacuation of more at-risk hamlets.
A helicopter involved in attempts to restore electricity crashed Saturday near Lugo, injuring one of the four people on board, the fire service said.
The floods have caused over 305 landslides and damaged or closed over 500 roads in the region.
“The water began to rise at 2:00 pm (on Friday), coming from across the fields,” after nearby canals were swollen by flooded rivers, electrician Mauro Lodola told AFP.